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Old Nov 27 2012, 10:02 PM   #1
mawra
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Default Christmas traditions

I would like to know what traditions other countries or other parts of the U.S. have.

In Virginia we put Christmas trees up usually any time after Thanksgiving (3rd Thurs. in Nov.) and before Christmas eve. Usually they come down a day or two after New Years Day. Along with Christmas Tree going up at that so do most house decorations.

My family usually drive around looking at all the Christmas lights aroung the week of Christmas. We go to my sister's house Christmas Eve, and stay home Christmas day. At home we usually open presents on Christmas morning. Last year we opened Christmas Eve, it was very late when we got home and did not want to get up early. We don't go to church.

My mother in laws gives us our gift cards or cash Christmas day. We usually pick them up. We have family get together a few days latter. Day after Christmas we usually, Kibby and I, usually hit the clearance sales.

Kibby 4-H has party and goes caroling to one of the nursing homes.

The Star Trek group is usually in a parade. We usually go to several parades.

We usually have a family and friends party with dirty santa game. We are not planning on this year. Between sister's work part, niece birthday party and other stuff there is no open date.

Dirty santa game is played a lot. --- everyone brings a wrapped gift. Every draws numbers. Number 1 gets a gift off the table, number 2 can steel number one's gift or get one off the tabel. Number 3 can steel or pick from table ect..
the game ends when the last present is taken from the table.

Some people unwrap when they first choose the gift, some wait until the end to open. Some also have rules about how many time a gift can be stolen before it is retired and can no longet be stolen.

For dinner Christmas Eve is usually ham and every one brings a dish.

At in-law ham, baked beans, mashed potatoes, green bean and sweet potato cassaroles and stuffing.
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Old Nov 29 2012, 08:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Tradition, tradition.

Nick and I celebrate Yule (the Winter Solstice), Christmas, and Boxing Day. Yule is quiet and private and just the two of us and the Kidling. Christmas Eve in the States means dinner with Mom and the Brother, in traditional Polish style (No meat, 7 foods, extra place at the table) Christmas morning is home, then up to Mom. Not sure if I am cooking this year or if we're doing the family thang upstairs. Boxing Day, when we're in the UK, is a family gathering at my inlaws.
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Old Nov 29 2012, 10:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

What do the 7 dishes concist of? Why the extra place?
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Old Nov 29 2012, 02:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Hm, I'll try to explain some of the traditions of the Serbian Orthodox Church when it comes to Christmas, though it might be a bit dificult to understand.
Here, Christmas falls after New Years, on January 7th. We call it Božić (meaning, little, young God). On Chrismtas day, there is a tradition of one person greating another with the words:"Christ is born" to which the other person responds:"Truly he is born". The day before Christmas is called Christmas Eve, when preparations are made for tomorow. On the morning of this day, the head of the family goes into the woods and brings back the badnjak, an oak log or branch which is kept inside the house or on the front door till Christmas Eve, when it is placed into the fire. It is considered good luck if you keep a branch of it in the house. Before, there were many other traditions going along with finding the badnjak, but they are mostly lost now, as most people buy the tree rather then go into the wood for it themselves.
There are also celebrations at the Ortodoxs Churches on Christmas Eve. People gather at the church, listen to prayers, then go out, circle around the church with the badnjak three times (I think it's three) and then burn the tree on a fire built in the church yard. This tree is usually much larger than the one brought into the house. Again, most people pluck a branch from it and take it home with them. Sometimes (if it isn't too cold) there is singing and dancing (usually the kolo, a folk dance), and they offer hot wine to keep the people warm.
Before, straw would usually be placed onto the floor in the house, but that is mostly abandon now (except in some rural areas).
Coming home, there is a Christmas Eve dinner prepared. Before they sit to eat, a prayer is read.
On Christmas morning, bells would ring on churches and people would go to the Morning Liturgy. After that, the family would gather for breakfast, and break the chesnica (similar to the Christmas cake, although it isn't really a cake, but a round loaf of bread, with a coin. It is circulated amongst the family members three times and that broken in peaces. The person in whose peace is the coin found, is considered to be very lucky in the following year). Also, there has to be a pechenica, a roasted pig.
In some countries, and mostly rural places, a group of men would go from door to door and sing and dance, wandering off all evils. They are called koledari, and the songs they sing are called koledos.
It is not a tradition to give gifts on Christmas, but on three Sundays before Christmas (in the form of ransom): Detinjci, Materice and Oci. On all three, they would tie the legs of one another (parents would tie their children's legs on Detinjci, and children their parent on Materice - their mothers - and Oci - their fathers. The tied person has to give a present to the person who tied him/her). But, most people don't do this anymore.
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Old Nov 29 2012, 07:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

When I was young, it was tradition for me to wake everyone up on Christmas morning (I am the youngest by 10 years so it was always to the annoyance of my brothers and sisters). Then the five of us would gather on the stairs in our pajamas and my father would take a picture. We would then head into the family room and open the presents.

Now that I am older and married and have a house of my own my husband and I usually have a quiet morning at home and then head to my parents house for dinner.
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Old Nov 29 2012, 09:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Only one thing, Maw: Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, not the third.
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Old Nov 30 2012, 02:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Oops.

Golden Talisath, what you said sound like something Kibby's 4H group would find intresting, it sounds like your "koledari, and the songs they sing are called koledos" and our carolers are about the same.

In California, we would pile into two trucks filled with hay and go around sining Christmas carols. We were told ever year not to have a hay fight, but of course we did.

When we move to Virginia we quiet doing that. It is MUCH colder here.

On Sat. in Dec. There are old fashioned strolling carolers that walk along Main
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Old Nov 30 2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Well, I found that many traditions the Orthodox and the Catholic Church have are mostly the same, and that some traditions across the Balkan Peninsula are also the same, no mather be it Orthodox or Catholic Church. For example, I know some people who celebrate Orthodox Chrismtas and do give away presents on that day, thought it is not a custom. Now, I don't know the history behind these customs, especially the Catholic ones, though most of are customs were done to wander off evils and pray for a succesfull next year. Today we do them just because they're part of our tradition and are fun
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Old Nov 30 2012, 06:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Christmas traditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by mawra View Post
What do the 7 dishes concist of? Why the extra place?
The extra place at the table is for the Unexpected Guest (angel/Jesus in disguise) The seven dishes are usually : Bambalki (bread rolls), perogi, two types of fish, honey, poppy seed, and some type of bean. It is supposed to represent the Sermon on the Mount, I THINK, when Jesus fed the crowd with 7 fish and 7 loaves.

We also have the Christmas Wafer, which is made from the same recipe as the church wafer. The mother of the family starts passing it around the table, and as each person breaks off a piece, she makes a wish for them for the coming year. The oldest child then makes a wish for the mother for the coming year when she takes her piece.
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